Format: Instructor-ledInstructor-led
Developed with: Funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region
Length: 4 weeks
Schedule: October 8 - November 1, 2019. Live online sessions October 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 3:00-4:00 PM ET.

Wikipedia is a go-to resource for health and medical information, not just for the general public but for health care providers as well. Over 50% of physicians and 94% of medical students use Wikipedia to find medical information on the Internet.* It may be popular but library staff want to know how reliable it is and how they can assess that reliability on behalf of their patrons. This course will help you build the knowledge and skills you need to confidently guide your patrons to authoritative medical and health information online.

It consists of weekly live online sessions, online discussion forums, reading and activities where public library staff participants will gain insight into the value of Wikipedia as a viable reference and build the skills and knowledge needed to evaluate articles on Wikipedia for themselves and their patrons, with a specific focus on health and medical topics.

This course will cover

  • The inner workings of Wikipedia, how the online encyclopedia is built by volunteer editors, how libraries are involved, and why this matters for health and medical information
  • The Five Pillars, or fundamental principles of Wikipedia that guide editor participation, and Conflicts of Interest
  • Wikipedia health and medicine article standards (WP:MEDRS) and reference criteria in order to evaluate reliability and access additional authoritative information.
  • WikiProject Medicine, an organization of volunteers dedicated to developing, maintaining, and promoting accurate medical information on Wikipedia.
  • The resources, services and training that NNLM offers public library staff
  • Getting started with editing Wikipedia references and links

As a result of participating, you will be able to

  • Confidently evaluate the reliability of health and medical articles found in Wikipedia
  • Engage and empower your community members to build information literacy skills and to access authoritative information on health-related topics
  • Identify the reliable sources guidelines and article standards for health-related content; understand the significance of different types of Wikipedia references
  • Understand the history, organization, guidelines, and editorial processes of Wikipedia, and apply this knowledge to library work
  • Edit citations and know where to go for editing help outside the boundaries of the course

We anticipate a total time commitment of 12 hours over four weeks. This will include four 60-minute live online sessions, independent readings, online discussion forums, and activities between sessions.

* Heilman, James M; West, Andrew G (2015). "Wikipedia and Medicine: Quantifying Readership, Editors, and the Significance of Natural Language". Journal of Medical Internet Research. 17 (3): e62

Please see the Course FAQ for more details. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Dale Musselman.


This course is made possible with funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region.


webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date January 10, 2018
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

Librarians have the power to make Wikipedia better and more reliable. Once you understand how this collaborative, community-driven encyclopedia works, you’ll see the value of contributing your expertise and knowledge. Wikipedia Library’s annual #1lib1ref (“One Librarian, One Reference”) campaign provides a simple and fun way to get started. This global initiative invites all library staff to improve the verifiability of information on Wikipedia by adding at least one reference during the campaign, which runs from January 15 through February 3, 2018.

During this webinar, Monika Sengul-Jones, OCLC Wikipedian-in-Residence, will illuminate the inner workings of Wikipedia to build your confidence in its viability as a resource. Emily Jack, community engagement librarian at UNC Chapel Hill Libraries, will share what library staff love about participating in #1lib1ref—and why engaging with Wikipedia makes sense for libraries. Learn how you can participate in #1lib1ref, confidently add a citation to Wikipedia and connect with other librarians who are motivated to contribute to this popular resource used by information-seekers around the world. Join the community of librarians who Wikipedia!

Presented by: Monika Sengul-Jones and Emily Jack

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date April 23, 2014
Hosted by: Infopeople
Length: 1 hour

  • Is traffic at your reference desk disappearing?
  • How do you reach out to the users who make use of your library's power and Internet access - but not your human resources?
  • How can your library support flipped learning without going getting sucked down a MOOC-shaped black hole?
  • Can librarians maintain their brand as information experts in the age of pervasive connectedness?

Portable Internet devices and persistent access to online resources is changing the way people learn. With that comes significant shifts to the way people use library spaces and services. Rather than fearing this disruption, libraries should lean into the change. Through mobile library services, flipped and co-learning experiences, and virtual reference tools, libraries can continue to demonstrate the importance of reference skills. Join digital strategist Toby Greenwalt for an exploration of current and emerging techniques.

Presented by: Toby Greenwalt

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date May 19, 2016
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

The advent of the Internet liberated genealogy research. With the resulting ease of access, individual genealogy exploration has blossomed. However, many people pay for research services, not realizing that they can go to their public library for free, reliable tools and assistance. This webinar will teach library staff how to assist patrons with genealogical questions, using, a leading genealogy resource. Learn the reference skills necessary to determine a patron’s research experience and reveal the problem to be solved. Learn how to orient patrons to available resources and introduce them to the principles of finding a record for a known ancestor. Become a better guide to your patron researchers and help them to connect successfully with the details and stories of their ancestry.

Presented by: James Ison

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date January 22, 2014
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

Public libraries provide a variety of health reference services and public programs to support community health literacy. Health literacy has been described by the Institute of Medicine as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions." The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) provides comprehensive health information resources and services to libraries across eight regions nationwide. Join this WebJunction webinar to learn more about the health information resources available through the National Library of Medicine and the NN/LM. Representatives of the NN/LM Pacific Southwest Regional Medical Library will discuss their collaborative efforts with public libraries regarding the Affordable Care Act and other popular health information topics. They will be joined by a representative from Santa Ana Public Library, and together share strategies for strengthening your own library's health information services, to improve the health literacy of your community.

Presented by: Alan Carr, Kelli Ham and Milly C. Lugo-Rios

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date June 11, 2015
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

Community health data is a powerful tool. It allows public library leaders and local partners to launch conversations and prioritize activities to support community members with reliable health information and services. The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program provides a comprehensive platform for community based organizations of all kinds to examine and take action on community health data. Attendees at this webinar will learn about ways in which cross-sector collaboration can positively influence social and environmental factors that impact community health. Attendees will also gain familiarity with key features of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool for further exploration of these topics. Attendees will also learn how Buffalo & Erie County Public Library has built awareness, partnerships and services in support of community health, using local data and networks.

Presenters: Kate Konkle and Renée Masters

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date January 26, 2015
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

Access to reliable consumer health information is an essential component of individual and community well-being. Because of their unique role and reputation for being open and available to all, public libraries bring valuable assets to supporting local community health efforts. In this WebJunction webinar, participants will explore essential pathways for libraries to address meaningful health information and services. Participants will be introduced to foundational considerations for ensuring ethics and privacy in patron interactions, maintaining health collections at the public library, addressing community health literacy, and supporting healthy communities through partnerships. Participants will also be introduced to resources to advance these topics in their community, and leave the session prepared to join the strong network of public libraries advancing health education nationwide.

Presented by: Francisca Goldsmith

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date October 21, 2015
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

Misinformation about health abounds in today’s info-glutted environment. What is the role of public libraries in addressing issues of accurate health information? Public libraries are uniquely positioned to contribute to healthy communities by providing informed access to reliable health information. This panel presentation provides an overview of the field of public health, highlighting innovative health promotion initiatives at public libraries, and covering training and funding resources for health-related library outreach and programming. Join the conversation about building your community’s health literacy.

Presented by: Lydia N. Collins, Anita Kinney, and Christian Minter

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date March 26, 2015
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

As information and education centers, libraries are an ideal place for patrons--teens and adults--to learn about higher education opportunities. What can you offer in response to patrons who are curious about college? If you or your staff feel flummoxed by college-related reference questions, this session will acquaint you with the different types of college-bound students, college-related resources to promote at your library, and ways to work with community partners on programs for each audience. Provide help for the many patrons who do not have access to pricey college prep programs and services. Learn how to initiate or enhance your reference services to help more people meet their higher education goals.

Presented by: Africa Hands

Self Paced CourseFormat: Self-paced Course
Developed with: Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
Length: 2 hours

Through a series of small projects and collaborative efforts, Douglas County (CO) librarians explored a new dimension of modern reference service, one that places their expertise at points of need outside of the library to respond to the questions the public didn’t take to the library.

By reaching out to their community and building new relationships, they are raising awareness about the reference services of the public library and learning more about the range of information local businesses and community members really need.

Join us as we step away from the desk and…

  • Explore new approaches to reference services that place public librarians directly in the community, answering questions at the point of need and growing community connections.
  • Discover possible outcomes and impacts of embedding library staff in direct projects supporting community businesses and organizations.
  • Identify your expertise. Identify new ways to place your expertise at points of need to respond to the questions the public does not typically take to the library.
  • Consider change. Consider new ways to adjust to this change and the opportunities for personal and professional growth that are possible for all staff within your library.

Course Design:
Based on a webinar originally presented by Jamie LaRue, Colbe Galston, and Amy Long and designed by WebJunction

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date February 14, 2017
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) exists not only to protect consumers but to empower all of us to take more control over our economic lives. The CFPB recognizes the important role that libraries can play as the go-to source for unbiased financial education resources in every community. The CFPB plans to build a community financial education infrastructure with libraries and national partners to reach consumers in their neighborhoods, expanding on programs and resources that are already working in libraries. With this infrastructure in place, public libraries can help fill consumers’ critical financial knowledge gaps by providing and distributing easy-to-understand, behaviorally informed financial education content. Learn how two libraries have implemented financial literacy program ideas, resources and tools, and connected with local partners, and hear how you can take your library and your community to the next level with patrons empowered to be informed consumers.

Presented by: Ken McDonnell, Meg Spencer, and Thea Hart

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date Summer 2011
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

In communities all around the country, people have felt the impact of a weak economy and they are still turning to libraries with a variety of needs. While libraries have vigorously responded to many immediate needs and the economy is starting to improve, the library has a continued and vital role to play to move their communities from recovery to growth, from surviving to thriving.

This webinar will build your knowledge and confidence to deliver programs and services that will keep the workforce in your community moving forward in the 21st century. It covers core responses to the basic needs of patrons impacted by the weak economy and specific responses to job seekers. The session also explores the variety of ways in which your library can support entrepreneurs and local small business in your community and how you can help your patrons strengthen their personal financial skills.

This webinar archive was created from sessions presented in 2011 as part of the IMLS-funded Project Compass, a national initiative to support public libraries' services to the struggling workforce.

Presented by: Betha Gutsche, Christine Hamilton-Pennell, and Holly Fulghum-Nutters Original

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date July 9, 2015
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

Every day, libraries around the country are filled with people seeking help with jobs and careers. How do library staff find time and resources to assist them all? Learn a variety of practical ways to deliver career development services in your library from two certified ALA Career Development Facilitators. They have strategies and resources to help you cover the spectrum from a quick "on the fly" toolbox of forms and templates to ideas for one-time classes, workshop series, and even one-on-one personalized career sessions for patrons. You really can support those job-seekers!

Presented by: Aileen Luppert and Michelle Simon

Self Paced CourseFormat: Self-paced Course
Developed by: LibraryU, a program of the Illinois State Library and the regional library systems
Length: 1 hour

Online, or virtual reference, has rapidly become a standard patron service offered by many public libraries. It uses the tools of the internet to extend traditional reference service to the point of need, bringing the service to patron rather than requiring the patron to come in to the library.

Online Reference Basics will help the learner to provide basic online reference service involving email and chat. The course addresses the advantages and disadvantages of online reference, gives step-by-step guidance, and provides tips and resources.

Course Design: updated by WebJunction

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date May 8, 2014
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: Length: 1 hour

Reference is still intrinsic to library services. It is evolving with changing patron needs, varied information resources and new delivery formats. Yet much of traditional practice remains important to providing quality information services to patrons. In this webinar, we will explore the balance between traditional and contemporary reference approaches, inviting you to join this open space conversation. What methods do you employ for reference today? What works? What doesn't? How does social media play a role? Lets learn from each other "how we do reference" so we can find the best fusion of traditional and modern reference service.

Presented by: Vanessa Irvin Morris

webinar iconFormat: Webinar, original date October 17, 2019
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: Length: 1 hour

Consumers are faced with increasingly complex scams and schemes used to defraud millions of people each year. As libraries strive to increase the digital and information literacy skills of their patrons, and provide timely and effective strategies for fraud protection, keeping up with options for consumer protection can be overwhelming. This webinar will explore the free resources available in multiple languages and formats provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that can be used by your patrons to protect their identity and to recognize and avoid scams. You’ll also hear how Johnson County Library is partnering with local agencies to provide programs and resources to empower consumers in their community.   

Presented by: Carol Kando-Pineda and Marty Johannes

webinar iconFormat: Webinar, original date August 14, 2019
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

Wikipedia is a go-to resource for health and medical information, not just for the general public but for health care providers as well. Over 50% of physicians, and 94% of medical students use Wikipedia to find medical information on the internet.* It may be popular but library staff want to know how reliable it is and how to assess quality on behalf of their patrons.

Join the webinar to learn about WikiProject Medicine, an organization of volunteers dedicated to developing, maintaining, and promoting accurate medical information on Wikipedia, and how the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) supports strengthening the ability of public libraries nationwide to find reliable and authoritative medical and health information online for information seekers. Learn about the upcoming online course Wikipedia + Libraries: Health and Medical Information that will empower you to confidently guide your patrons to reliable resources on the internet. The free four-week course will be offered in the fall of 2019.

Presented by: Monika Sengul-Jones, Liz Waltman, and Betha Gutsche

webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date July 19, 2017
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

Wikipedia is more than its collection of user-contributed articles; it is a dynamic community with powerful tools that ensure reliability. For public libraries, Wikipedia can be a useful tool to connect patrons with quality information and help them build information literacy skills. In this webinar, learn how you can use Wikipedia to expand access to your collections and creatively engage your communities.

You'll leave with new insights about Wikipedia and practical tips on how to apply what you've learned. You’ll also hear more about the Wikipedia + Libraries online training program being held in the fall of 2017. This free ten-week course offers the opportunity to gain skills in Wikipedia editing and engagement in a collaborative learning environment with public library peers.

Presented by: Monika Sengul-Jones, Tiffany Bailey, and Betha Gutsche

Webinar recordingFormat: Webinar, original date May 6, 2015
Hosted by: WebJunction
Length: 1 hour

As job seekers of all kinds continue to come to the library for resources and support, libraries continue to find new ways to respond to this essential community need. Workforce literacy impacts a variety of patrons, including ex-offenders reentering the workforce, small businesses looking to grow, young first time job seekers, military personnel and veterans, and older adults seeking new skills to stay in the workforce. Work SC brings a comprehensive, yet accessible, set of tools to South Carolina residents through the State Library, and Jason played no small part in making it happen. Find out how your library, large or small, can adapt these service models and partnerships to provide the resources and support your local community needs to thrive in today’s workforce.

Presented by: Jason Broughton